Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Better Rick

A better Rick
Here I sit, charging up phones and laptops and mp3 players; while listening back to some of last nights performance at the Lilly spot,as recorded on mp3.
Rick said, last night, that I played the harmonica well, which was a bit of a surprise, because I have recently become more inhibited about playing the thing; because of a few plugged holes which often seem to be the ones needed to finish a melodic line begun on the unplugged holes; and the fact that Barnaby and (now) his next door neighbor, the husband of Laura, Barnabys landlady, are in agreement in that "we like your guitar playing and your singing, but your voice has so much more soul than your harmonica does..."
This has had the effect of making me more shy about jumping in on that instrument and just sounding out things, relying upon just my ear and instincts...knowing that someone may be cringeing across the street. It is a totally right-brain thing for me; with the other side of the brain only holding the information that the harp that I have chosen is in the right key; thus giving me a fighting chance at making it sound musical.
One of the benefits of this approach is evident when occasionally people will comment that I don't play the harmonica like anyone else whom they have heard. This is probably because other players that they have heard started out by learning simple scales and songs like "Oh, Susanna," and are thus grounded somewhat by some rudimentary theory; whereas I just sound things out; and sometimes discover things like playing the F major harp over an A minor progression, which gives me a pallate of sonic colors not normally heard from players like Neil Young or Bob Dylan, who just honk on the thing (also) but who try to match the exact harp to the exact key.
But, people seem to be divided in their opinions on my playing of the harp; but it was nice to hear Rick say that I played it well, because he has a very good sense of pitch.
He let a guy play his (blue, like mine) Yamaha, and the guy said something like "Wow, this is really in tune!" to which Rick replied "Yeah, I have a pretty good ear..."
Maybe I haven't heard the last of Rick, who has a bus ticket for Austin, Texas, leaving tomorrow (Tuesday, the 20th).
I could see him tonight; and maybe jam with him.
He has slowly gotten over what he must have felt was a slight of his musicality after I told him that we could busk together for "an hour and a half, or so" but no more, because we haven't worked out enough material to sound tight together for much longer; outside of repeating material.
The originals only go so far; and usually put people in the mind of other artists, whom they request. One of his songs remind people of the band Modest Mouse (Rick takes slight offense at this, as he sees that band as being sophomoric and simple) and the people often ask "Hey, do you know any Modest Mouse?" at which point, Rick plays a song by them, and I comp along, making musical sense and sounding good (optimally) but not playing exactly what is in the Modest Mouse boxed CD volumes.
The music that we do has more potential "down the road", as there is "gold in them there hills" of interesting original art, but for the 3 hours in front of Lillys, our earnings are subdued a bit; as, I have found a way to milk money out of it; as the lonely troubador who has been pushed to the fringe by a society whose tastes are more mainstream and who don't understand my art, and who want to sit down for a personal interview and a glimpse into my head and my lifestyle; some of whom are thinking: "You never know, this guy could be famous some day; and I'll be able to tell everyone that I hung out with him; bought him beer and talked to him for a couple hours and threw him the 50 bucks, on the way out, that he used to buy that harmonica that you are seeing right there on MTV...He nicknamed it 'Melvin' after me!!"
A Matter Of Style
Rick is more interactive and will stand up with his guitar strapped and encounter people on an eye-to-eye level; both approaches have their merits; but his would be better for him a little further down Bourbon Street where there is more interactive encountering going on; or on Royal Street, where he went to play after feeling that I had slighted him.
We remain friends, after having gotten over that glitch; and might jam together tonight.

I am almost flat broke and wearing dirty, stinking clothes and picking up butts and etc. etc. just like before I quit drinking for a month.
Jim, The Artist
I saw the artist on Jackson Square who had been giving me the thumbs up, as I walked past him, when he would say "Well?" and I would reply: "22 days!" And he would say: "Great! That's the best news I've heard all day!"
He saw the can of Hurricane in my hand and shook his head.
"I made it 30 days," I said, not apparently making an impression upon his back as he walked off, still shaking his head.

Food For Thought
Tomorrow morning, the food stamp lady is scheduled to call me for an interview; and I hope she does, and that my card gets turned back on.
Part of what has been hurting me is missing that little 189 dollars this month...

1 comment:

alex carter said...

I loved your first pic of Rick ... yeah I love really bad art, so bad it's good! Wow, the guy's hair has silver leaves growing in it! And he drinks teeny tiny doll-house size martinis! Please don't take that one down.